Union Rural Development and Panchayati Raj Minister Dr. C.P.Joshi has emphasized the criticality of participatory planning and convergence of schemes & resources in implementing different Rural Development schemes. In a letter written to all Chief Ministers of respective states he has urged them to chalk out their strategies in view of the exigencies of drought like situation in large parts of the country. The minister says that this has made imperative to strengthen PRIs as it calls for massive planning of works not only under NREGA but also under other relevant schemes (Viz. Integrated Watershed Management Programme, Minor Irrigation, SGSY, Drinking Water etc.) and greatly improved implementation in saving the crops planted, providing livelihood and conserving soil and water for the future.
The Minister has recalled that Panchayats at district, intermediate and village levels are the Principal authorities for planning and implementation of NREGA under Section 13 of the Act. Also, the main responsibilities of PRIs are outlined in Sections 13 to 17. Moreover, at least 50 percent of NREGA funds are to be spent directly by the Gram Panchayats (GPs). Gram Sabhas (GSs) are to recommend specific projects to GPs and conduct social audit of NREGA works. Dr. Joshi said these features of NREGA offer a unique opportunity to strengthen and enable PRIs, particularly the GPs and GSs. The rejuvenated and enabled PRIs in turn, can become powerful instrument in making NREGA a much better success. Hence, it is up to the States to consider some specific action measure for generating much better awareness of NREGA, essential staffing and infrastructure for Gram Panchayats, direct flow of funds to GPs, better transparency and accountability of Panchayats, effective mechanism for grievance handling and monitoring.
Dr. Joshi referred to the convergence guidelines issued by the M/o Rural Development, which seek to efficiently manage & conserve National Resources including soil and water and said much of such convergence could be planned and implemented effectively only by GPs/GSs at local level on a sustained basis. Even a block is too large an area for most of the works. Accordingly, such participatory planning should, evidently be taken as a mass campaign.
(Release ID :54249)